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This is my first TBH, or any type of hive for that matter, and it took a while but I finally got a swarm on Thursday evening, by Saturday they absconded but I found them, recaptured them and reinstalled them. Today I come home from work and the same thing, so I recaptured them, reinstalled them and this time I fed them with some honey. I was thinking of grounding them for 24 hrs( I haven't opened their openings yet ). I want them to make themselves at home before I let them out to explore. My question is, is this a good idea? Or am I just being mean and vindictive? Oh yeah, I live in the Los Angeles area
 

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Welcome to Beesource!


By chance, does your top bar hive have an open screened bottom? If so, that may be the problem. Close it off. Lots of reports of new bees absconding from hives with open screeded bottoms. This is more of a problem in TBHs as there is a greater open area compared to a Lang style hive.
 

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I think you need to put something in there asap to make it feel more homey and attractive. A few drops of lemongrass oil might help, or if you can get a hold of a piece of even old brood comb to leave in the hive. If you can't get brood comb, any piece of old wax comb to rub inside the walls of the hive and along the top bars will help. Are you set up to feed them sugar syrup? You can use the syrup in a spray bottle and spray the bees (lightly!) and the inside of the hive with the syrup. In the end, if they already had a place picked out, you probably can't stop them. Sometimes you can thwart them by putting some brood comb in the hive - they will feel obligated to take care of the brood (awwww...) and change their plans. Keep us posted on what you try and what happens. Good luck!
 

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I'm not expert but here goes. Perhaps it's too hot. Is it in direct sunlight for too long? Is it too cool of a spot. Is the entrance path way obstructed? Too much activity around them? Is the wood inside the hive treated in anyway? I was told they prefer the exit of the hive facing south (don't know if that's true or not) Is there any wax inside. I found that stretching a string (I used food grade string) and melting wax over it then trimming the ends for a guide helps kick things off. Was something other than natural wax used? If they have a starting place they may draw comb, once that happens they are like us and don't like to walk away from work they've started. Is it not level? Is it down wind of someones drier or trash. I heard they hate the smell of alcohol (again I don't know how true that is). There's a few ideas.

P.S. Experts, please be kind. :p
 

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Thank you for all the help. I did have a wire mesh bottom ( thanks Rader Sidetrack ), it is in full sun for 3/4 of the day but I built a sun screen for it, but I don't think they are sticking around long enough to figure out if it's hot or not. All my bars are baited with a wax/honey mix. When I got the swarm the box had some comb in it so I attached it to the bars, that didn't work so when I captured them again I took the comb out. I have been spraying them with sugar water. I am hoping it was the wire mesh bottom that was the problem. I was able to get it covered before I opened up the holes. I don't have any options on location other than full sun, I am hoping the sun screen I made will protect them during the mid day heat. I know someone local who has a TBH in full sun and he is making it work, but I do agree some shade would be better I just don't have that option. I also provide water for my hive about 10 feet from the hive
 

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If your TBH is getting too hot in full sun put some shims, bricks, sticks whatever between the top bars and the cover board it will allow air to circulate over the top bars and keep them cooler
 

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I agree with the above suggestions. A drop of lemongrass smeared on the back,nice and dark in there,shaded with a canopy removed my own need to try to vent somehow,and a feeder, really should do the trick!
 

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Well so far so good. Did an inspection and they are working away building comb. Thank you everybody for the great help. What I did is I covered the wire mesh bottom with wood and I fed them honey comb yesterday and by today that was toast so I made a honey feeder and now I am feeding them honey. I also put a couple drops of lemongrass oil. I already thought about an air gap between the bars and the top I built the cover to have about a 2 inch gap, I will possibly put some saw dust insulation in the gap this winter especially if it turns out to be an El Niño year. Thanks again for the help. I look forward to posting some pictures soon.
 

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Well day 2 and all is good. The girls are working hard at making their new home. Thanks again everyone for the great advise.
 

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Well day 2 and all is good. The girls are working hard at making their new home.
I'd say you're out of the woods now (no pun intended...) - once they start building comb, they are likely to stay - they don't like to abandon real estate they've already invested in (just like us). Would love to see pics if you get any. Congrats.
 
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